Arizona Court Denies Defendant’s Motion to Suppress Blood Draw After Deadly Crash

In a recent case coming out of a criminal court in Arizona, the defendant appealed his convictions for negligent homicide, endangerment, criminal damage, and aggravated assault. Facing several different guilty convictions, the defendant made multiple arguments on appeal, one of which was that the trial court should not have denied his original motion to suppress incriminating evidence. The higher court considered the defendant’s appeal but ultimately disagreed with him and affirmed his original convictions and sentences.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was driving his truck one evening when he collided with another vehicle, leading that car to launch into the air and land on another person’s car. One person was killed in the crash. After the crash, investigators drew blood from the defendant three times and found each time that his blood alcohol level was significantly above the .08 concentration, which serves as the threshold number for a person to be charged with driving under the influence.

After a jury trial, the defendant was sentenced to prison terms totaling 13.5 years. He promptly appealed his convictions and sentences.

The Decision

On appeal, the defendant argued that the trial court should have suppressed the first of the three blood draws. The defendant referenced his rights under the Fourth Amendment, which protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. According to the defendant, the law enforcement officer did not have enough evidence to suspect that the defendant was intoxicated, so he should not have been allowed to draw his blood. What’s more, said the defendant, the officer conducted the blood draw without a warrant, and the blood draw lacked any medical purpose. For these reasons, the evidence of a high blood alcohol concentration that came from the blood draw should have been suppressed.

The court disagreed with the defendant’s conclusion that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated. An officer at trial testified that the defendant appeared as though he was intoxicated at the time of the crash – he smelled of alcohol, spoke with slurred words, and had bloodshot eyes. The defendant’s speed at the time of the crash was 70 miles per hour in a 40 mile per hour zone, giving officers further reason to suspect that he might have been intoxicated. Thus, said the court, the officers had plenty of reason to think that alcohol could have been a contributing factor to the crash, and the blood draw was reasonably executed.

Given that the court found no infringement on the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights, the defendant’s appeal was denied and his sentences were affirmed.

Are You Facing Criminal Charges in Arizona?

If you or a loved one is fighting DUI charges in the state of Arizona, call our team at the Law Office of James E. Novak. We understand what it takes to make sure you have the best chance possible of defending yourself and fighting for your freedom. We are committed to prioritizing your needs and to being with you every step of the way. For a free and confidential consultation, call us at 480-413-1499. You can also send us an online message to have your questions answered.

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